Renaissance: A Strategic Plan for Transforming Judaism

Book cover for Transforming Judaism

The Jewish religion and its values and culture have enriched the world for thousands of years. But, in North America today, that rich heritage doesn’t appear to translate into a thriving Jewish community. Jewish author Jim Stein is not disheartened, however. After examining his experiences as an active volunteer and leader in his local community, as well as time invested serving in leadership roles on a national level, he has created a strategy that envisions a rebirth of Judaism to enrich the lives of every Jew, whatever his or her background.

Renaissance: A Strategic Plan for Transforming Judaism proposes a principal strategy to “focus attention on fundamental Jewish values and wisdom in evaluating all prayers, customs, traditions, and rituals, and live these values and wisdom every day of our spiritual and communal existence in new, proactive, and innovative ways that provide access through multiple portals and that explain the ‘why’ of what we do religiously and that ultimately build a strong and intimate Jewish spiritual community."

Recognizing that in today’s economy a rich history is no longer a guarantee of relevance, Stein approaches Judaism with an eye for its lasting values and significance. Building on the foundations of the past, the author brings a fresh perspective to traditional customs that invites questions and debate. This “big tent” approach welcomes discussion, dialogue, and dissent, and creates more access points for people who find themselves on the fringes.

With a desire to reconnect Jewish leaders with their congregants, and draw disaffected Jews back into the fold, Stein writes this exposition as the start of a conversation with the Jewish community aiming to usher in a vibrant, effective, and authentic Judaism that both enhances the life of the community and enriches the world beyond it.

Renaissance is not a critique of traditional Judaism, but rather an extended welcome to the Jews who can’t seem to find a place at the table. For these disaffected Jews, Stein suggests new ways to encourage meaningful Jewish observance and to expand the Jewish community to include them.